Monday, March 28, 2016


An Emily sighting on the way to the temple!
OH MY Oh My, Hello Family!

Highlights of the Week:

1. GUESS WHO I GOT TO SEE ON EASTER MORN? Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They never announce who speaks at devotionals until it starts (for their protection?), but we all could feel that one of the Apostles was going to speak. We could just FEEL it in the air. He testified of Christ in a way that shook my soul.

Back story: I had a very strange and negative experience on Wednesday, that left Sister Peck and me in a funk. I couldn't figure out why it wasn't going away, but it made me really start to ponder what was missing in my life. And something was, indeed, missing. I am going to be very honest and admit that I realized that I do not know Christ. I realized that intellectually I know Him very well, and that if I was asked any question about His nature, His purpose, and His life, I would give the right answer in a heartbeat.

I realized that HE IS EVERYTHING, and I barely know Him! If He were to actually ask "Sister Ludlam, lovest thou me?" as He did Peter, I would probably fall to my knees and cry out in shame. What have I been doing in my life until this point? Anything besides declaring His name and striving to be like Him is a waste of time! Yes, I knew that this is His church, that it is HIS name on my nametag, that His name is mentioned over 30 times in my patriarchal blessing, and thousands of times in the scriptures, and that I could not return to the presence of Heavenly Father without His sacrifice. Jesus Christ is the CENTER of this gospel, and should be the center of my life. His name should be on the tip of my tongue, and I should live how He did so that I am worthy to bear His name on my tag. Elder Ballard bore his apostolic witness that He lives, and that he. is. everything.

I am so privileged to be here at the MTC and could not be happier, but I need to "wake up and do something more than dream of my post-mission life!" I love my God, and I love my Savior and Master, Jesus Christ. Now begins the lifetime pursuit of coming to know Him. It has only started a few days ago, but it is the most gratifying and joyous pursuit I have ever undergone. I cannot wait to do this for the rest of my life.
The beauty this is Harlan's Easter Egg made it to Ava in time!

2. HARLAN SENT ME A GIANT CHOCOLATE EGG IN THE MAIL! I was with my district when I opened the box, and we all wondered, "How are we going to get it open?" Clearly, the elders had the right idea to crack it open with their heads -- like a karate table snap. I got it on video and half of campus saw it, but the file is too big to attach. Many people enjoyed that egg, Harlan! Thank you for making Easter very sweet at the MTC! I also got a box from the Garners that was chalk full of my favorite snack bars. Todd Garner knows me too well. THANK YOU ILENE AND TODD! <3 I also got your package, fam!!! Thank you for the letters, the camera charger (atta girl, Jenna! Just as my camera was about to die!) the cookies, and MOST OF ALL Mom’s fig bars!

3. Sister Peck has been having these coughing fits, so I demanded that she go to the doctor because it was scaring me to death! Turns out the Medical Center was closed because it was a Saturday, so they emergency shuttled us to the BYU Health Center--off the MTC campus. ;-) Turns out Sister P has an upper-respiratory virus and needs medicine they only had at the local pharmacy. BUMMER! Sister Peck wanted to go to Rite Aid to get Dr. Pepper. I never thought I could get so excited about going to a Rite Aid.

Sisters at large in Rite Aid
4. I feel impressed to share something a member of the branch presidency, Brother Williams, told us this week. Brother Williams is hilarious because he, like President Uchtdorf, was a pilot and literally every talk he gives has a flying analogy. I LOVE IT! And this one changed my life. SO! 85% of our zone got their Visas to Portugal and all the people who I have grown to love just up and left and took part of my heart with them. This is basically what Bro. Williams said to them: "As you fly across the Atlantic Ocean on your way to Portugal, you will hardly ever be on course. The winds are extremely powerful, and you are traveling at hundreds of miles an hour. Yet you know you will make it to your destination! And in all my years of flying, not ONCE did I miss my destination. How is that possible? It is because all along the way, the pilot is making slight course corrections. If he is off course for 1 minute, he can easily correct it. If he doesn't correct it, he will land miles away from his intended destination. You can read or listen to Elder Uchtdorf's powerful talk here.

So please, be patient with yourself if you find that very rarely are you living the way you know you have the potential to and are continually having to make small changes to stay on course. With the opposition we must face in this life, it is no wonder we are constantly making course corrections. If you continue to make those small choices, you will reach your destination of living with our Father in Heaven again, and you will reach your potential. Please do not hesitate to make those corrections, as frustrated as you may be with your inability to "get things right." The longer you travel along the trajectory, the harder it will be to get back on track. AND no matter how far off the intended course of travel you find yourself, it is NEVER too late. The pilot can't throw his hands up mid-flight and say, "UGH, I GIVE UP!" and go sip ginger ale in First Class. You can't give up either. You must continue to press forward. Press forward with faith in Christ, and you will be guided with divine aid."
An Emily squeeze before she leaves for Spain!

Okay, he didn't say a lot of that, but I just wrote down what I heard in my heart. It gives me so much peace to know that it's okay if I am constantly having to get back up and try again. I just have to keep making course corrections.

I love you all so so much and please DearElder me and I will write you back within 2 business days! Wish I could tell you about the additional miracles I saw this week, but I am out of time!

Sister Ludlam

(P.S. Mom, is Levi out of the MTC already? I didn’t think he was leaving so soon, but I haven’t seen him all week. I usually see him twice a day.)

Monday, March 21, 2016

One of the Best Weeks of My Life

Ava with her cousin, Levi Burnett, on his way to Omaha, NE
Hello people whom I love:
This was probably one of the best weeks of my life. Never did I think I could love a place as much as I love the Provo Missionary Training Center. I knew it was going to be intense, that I would follow a rigid schedule starting at 6:30 sharp each morning, study in a cinder block classroom for 10 hours a day, and that there would be strict rules to which exact obedience is expected (at night we hear a creepy voice that says "IT IS NOW 10:15. QUIET TIME" and "IT IS NOW 10:30. LIGHTS OUT." Sister Peck and I feel like we are in solitary confinement). But this place...what a privilege and an honor to wear a badge as a servant of Jesus Christ and work among the finest young people in the world. I have witnessed miracles, and I have seen hearts change and lives transform.
E. Rasmussen--an unfortunate Cheez-It incident

My Zone

I have no idea how the coolest, most eccentric people all got crammed into one district. I wish I could go one by one and just describe each one of these crazy people. Every time we see each other, we say "Tudo bem? Tudo bem!" (toodoo bang) It just breaks my heart because all the people in the zone besides my little district just got their visas to Portugal and leave in a week! These people have changed my life.

My District (a division of a zone)

There is Sister Peck and I, Elder Rasmussen and Elder Hernandez, and a solo elder, Elder Christensen. I have only known them for 2 weeks, but I think it’s pretty safe to say this group of people are my best friends. Since the first day, Sister Peck has recorded a "quote of the day" (which usually comes from Elder Rasmussen). We have cried through our bitter trials, and cried with gratitude as we witnessed miracles. I love these people with all my heart.

Excited to exercise!
On Day 3, we taught our first investigator. HOW NERVE WRACKING! Please remember that we do NOT speak Portuguese, and "Anderson" was from Sao Paulo and didn't speak English. On the second lesson, we had a plan of what we were going to teach him, but the spirit told us "nope.”

Can I just say how much I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ? It is simple enough that a child can understand it, yet complex and deep enough that the most intelligent minds can dig and dig and they will never hear their shovels clunk against the bottom because it's meaning extends exponentially! It becomes more and more delicious to you as you understand the ways of God.

Sister Ludlam and a leader?
It is really frustrating because I have learned so much this week and have had so many life-changing experiences, but I did not prepare well enough and am out of time! I know that there we are children of a loving Heavenly Father, and He has given us His Son and His gospel so that we can return to him. Doesn't that mean everything and make anything else insignificant? I know that joy and in this life can only be found when your life is built upon a foundation of truth. I urge anyone who has not to read the Book of Mormon to do so. I will personally send you one if you want, because I love each and every one of you and want nothing more than you to have the joy only found through this gospel. If you read that book with a sincere desire to know what is true, the Spirit of God will whisper to your heart that it is. I know that with all my heart and soul.

I have a few messages to deliver!
1. MVP goes to Todd and Ilene Garner for sending not just one, but two Dear Elder packages! When I got the first one, I was beside myself with joy, but then I went back later just to check on something only to find I had another package, three times bigger than the last one! The elders and sisters who enjoyed their contents will forever refer to that historic day as “Christmas at the MTC.” Thank you so much, Garners! <3
2. To all those who I wasn't able to call/meet up with in my remaining pre-MTC hours: The day I got set apart was crazy, and all of a sudden my Stake President knocked on the door and I realized I would never be able to say goodbye. I am sorry for poor planning, but I love you all very much.
3. Livi: the lotion you gave me is almost used up because Utah is SO DRY!! Thank you <3 My companion keeps saying, "Skin getting dryer, skirt's getting tighter!"
4. VISA update: looks like I'm going to be at the Provo MTC all 6 weeks. Apparently, they are celebrating "Carnival" where no one works for weeks and my visa paperwork is just collecting dust in the Brazilian Consulate. HOWEVER, I believe in miracles and refuse to lose hope. And to be honest, I do not mind one bit if I stay here in Provo. :)
5. I got 4 DearElders this week. If you send a Dear Elder letter (you just go into the website and basically send an email), I will get a physical letter that same day and can respond easier since I only email for an hour a week. :) Mom, can you insert the link? (sidebar on the left)
6. Taggarts: First off, I am so in love with your daughter. Every time Hermana Taggart sees me, she acts like we haven't seen each other in years and just runs to me! Also, you will be welcoming Elder Quintero to NJ this week. He is an INCREDIBLE missionary. He taught me and my companion so many things and basically raised our baby district. We will miss him so much!


Sister Ludlam

Last week Ava requested a link so you could reference her Elder Bednar comment "But we must be careful to remember in our service that we are conduits and channels; we are not the light. “For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:20). It is never about me, and it is never about you." A link to the entire excellent talk: Seek Learning By Faith

Monday, March 14, 2016

Down to Business

Grant, Ava and Lia -- early-morning temple session before class
Okay.  It is time to get DOWN TO BUSINESS. I don't have much time, and have SO MUCH I want to say!! For some reason I thought typing in Portuguese would be easier than English.  I forgot my book where I wrote down all my thoughts, so this is going to be a nice little Sister Ludlam spew, straight from the heart!

First off, let me just explain what exactly I am doing here at the missionary training center: I am in class all day learning how to invite people to come unto Christ in Portuguese.

Things to Ponder

1. We are apparently NOT "Irmas," because Irma means nun and that is not exactly what we are going for. ;) So I am Sister Ludlam! 

2.  I am in LOVE with the Portuguese language!!  My companion and I (Sister Peck, more on that lovely lady later) just happen to be at the EXACT same learning level and knowledge of Spanish (hmmm, funny how that happened!) and we are just eating it up! We taught our first investigator on our third day, and are just progressing so quickly. I think in Portuguese, pray in Portuguese, make fun of Sister Peck in Portuguese, it's just delightful.

Sister Peck and Sister Ludlam
3. Sister Peck is SO EASY TO LOVE!! From the first moment we saw each other we just clicked. She is a hard worker, wants to be exactly obedient, and freely shares her love for everyone. What a dove. By the way, dove is pomba, mom. I have mine on my desk <3

4. Can I just say I am SO feeling my hair, Mom? Thank you! I had it pulled back every single day while I worked for Vivint, I just forgot how glorious it was!

5. I. am. so. blissfully. happy. I thought being at BYU was as good as it gets, but honestly this place is heaven. I KNOW it is a blessing from God that I am so comfortable; without anxiety, insecurity, feelings of inadequacy, or boredom. (true) Never before have I been able to live in such a spiritually rich place, so not muddy.

6. My p-day is Monday and my address is:
2005 N 900 East, Unit #151
Provo UT 84604

7. How goofy is it that I expected a metal grate to come with my name tag? One for my mind, and one for my heart! Turns out I still have to work to keep my thoughts and feeling centered on my work.

8. From the first day, I got a major wakeup call: This is Not About You. The scene from The Incredibles where the mom says, "BOB, THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU!" and the part in “Character of Christ” where Elder Bednar says that same thing (I had the quote in my other book). I don't know if I should be quoting The Incredibles, but I think the Bednar quote should even it out. And The Incredibles is chalk full of wonderful messages anyways. Of course the reason I am on this mission is to help people increase in their faith and come unto Christ, but I was still in my childish mindset, "Oh, this is going to make me so chiseled," but that is NOT why I am here. With that attitude, I realized I will fail. I am a servant of the Lord, and this is HIS work. It does not matter how good of a teacher I am or how eloquently I speak Portuguese, I will NEVER be able to know the feelings of people’s hearts and what they need to hear on my own. The more I forget myself and just focus on the work, the more I will be able to effectively be an instrument of God. I AM SO EXCITED!!

I love you all, I am sorry this letter is all over the place! Next week I will be more prepared. 


Sister Ludlam